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Former governor plans to use 5th Amendment in Flint water bellwether trial

In this Jan. 23, 2018 former Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder delivers his State of the State address...
In this Jan. 23, 2018 former Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder delivers his State of the State address at the state Capitol in Lansing, Mich. (AP Photo/Al Goldis)
Published: Mar. 7, 2022 at 12:12 PM EST
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ANN ARBOR, Mich. (WNEM) - Former governor Rick Snyder has asked a federal judge to quash his subpoenas to testify in the Flint water bellwether trial.

Snyder will use his Fifth Amendment against self-incrimination for questions that relate to his response to the Flint water crisis, according to court documents. Opening statements began last week.

The trial will determine if two engineering companies were negligent during the Flint water crisis. The companies are denying they were negligent and say they are not responsible for the plaintiffs’ alleged injuries.

The companies are Veolia North America LLC, Veolia North America Inc. and Veolia Water North America Operating Services LLC, which are referred to as VNA, and Lockwood, Andrews & Newnam P.C., Lockwood Andrews & Newnam Inc. and Leo A. Daly Company, which are referred to as LAN. VNA and LAN are not part of the $626.5-million partial settlement in the Flint water case.

The plaintiffs are four children who claim their injuries were caused by their exposure to lead in Flint’s drinking water in 2014 and 2015.

The former governor was charged with two counts of willful neglect of duty by a public officer. His case is scheduled to be reviewed later this month in Genesee County District Court.

Jury trial in the Flint water bellwether case is expected to last for months and involves testimony from various witnesses. The. U.S. District Court of Eastern Michigan calls it a bellwether trial because it could predict how other plaintiffs might fair.